LINCOLN, Neb. — Local animal experts say a coyote’s snatching of a small dog near Lincoln is a reminder to keep a close eye on pets in areas where coyotes may be wandering.

Steve Anderson saw his Yorkie named Jasper snatched by a coyote last week on his property west of Lincoln. Anderson said he tried to chase after the coyote, but the animal disappeared with Jasper into a cornfield.

“We were pretty upset,” Anderson said.

He hopes that by sharing his story of Jasper he can help other pet owners avoid a similar tragedy.

Lincoln Animal Control Manager Steve Beal said there have been about 35 reports of coyote sightings in the city since May. He said the group hadn’t received any reports of attacks on pets before Jasper.

“I never comprehended a coyote coming,” Anderson said.

Nebraska Wildlife Rehab Executive Director Laura Stastny said it’s a rare case for a coyote to snatch a small pet out of a yard, especially when the owner is nearby.

“The coyote decided to snatch the dog even with the human right there, which was out of the ordinary as far as I’m concerned,” said Dan Hejl, chief deputy of Seward County and Anderson’s neighbor.

Beal recommended people watch their pets closely and not let them outside unattended. He also said pet owners can carry a whistle or start clapping to scare off coyotes.

Anderson says the family’s surviving Yorkie, Nikko, no longer goes outside alone.

“Before, I would let him out at night and let him wander around the front yard,” he said. “Now, I make sure I go out there.”

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